"The credibility of a warm introduction can shortcut a lifetime of cold-calling."
The Founders of UrbanYou Noga Edelstein and Elke Keeley, recently revealed their progress since presenting at Heads Over Heels events in October 2014 and June 2016.
What's your company's point of difference?
UrbanYou is a two-sided marketplace to book trusted, pre-screened household services such as cleaning and gardening, on-demand. Our platform takes care of the entire transaction from discovery and pricing, through to scheduling and payments. What makes UrbanYou different are three key features. First is a curated marketplace – all service professionals are screened and verified, they must all have insurance and police checks, and only those with the highest ratings remain on platform. Secondly we’ve standardised pricing across a range of services, so we can give customers the actual price upfront. Thirdly, we brought the whole transaction online – we’ve made it just as easy to get your house cleaned, as it is to buy a book on Amazon. But ultimately UrbanYou is all about trust, and what we’re really doing is building a great brand that consumers can trust in the same way as a great recommendation from a friend.
How did Heads Over Heels provide practical support?
The introductions we received via the Heads over Heels network were invaluable, and opened so many doors that would otherwise have taken us years to knock down! The credibility of a warm introduction can shortcut a lifetime of cold-calling. In addition, our ongoing relationships with the Heads over Heels team and alumni has been a great source of mentoring and support. Not to mention, a large number of Heads over Heels attendees are now UrbanYou customers!
What is the single biggest thing that helped you grow?
Being introduced directly into the Ernst & Young workplace benefits team enabled us to sign an agreement to trial the provision of home services as a part of their employee benefit program. This was instrumental in enabling us to secure our seed funding of $500,000.
Who or what were your 'connections for growth'?
We received over 125 offers of introduction from Heads over Heels, which was a truly overwhelming response! We received introductions to property managers and real estate agents for possible partnerships, and to corporates looking to make a real difference to their employees’ work/life balance by offering household services as an employee benefit.
What one thing would you do differently?
I would have learned earlier how to tell the UrbanYou business case through numbers and metrics. This would have improved our access to capital early on, as investors are ultimately looking for a return on their investment.
What advice would you offer the women following you?
Resilience is so important as an entrepreneur – you will face rejection on a regular basis, it’s important not to take it personally and just keep getting back up and getting back out there! Believe in yourself and your business, and remember that every 'no' is one step closer to a 'yes'!
There are so many opportunities for female entrepreneurs, take advantage of all of them and don’t be afraid to ask for help or introductions. But likewise, be generous with your own expertise and offer connections to others whenever